India need to change the way they played cricket at home, said Sachin Tendulkar on Day 2 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here on Saturday. The Little Master suggested a heady two-pitch, two-ball recipe to overcome the ignominy that Indian cricketers were tigers at home and lambs abroad.
Tendulkar is on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s cricket advisory committee, but his out-of-the box and extremely radical suggestions will probably give the BCCI’s technical committee, headed by Sourav Ganguly, some great ideas.
Smart home strategies
Tendulkar said India needed to adopt smart home strategies to play better cricket abroad. He suggested that two pitches – a green top and a turning track – be prepared side by side for India’s next generation cricketers, especially those knocking at the international door.
“A good game should see an even contest between bat and ball. Let the opening batsmen negotiate the fast bowlers on green tops. When you go abroad, you will face similar conditions and the preparation will be better,” said Tendulkar.
India have been traditionally poor travellers. Since 1989, when Tendulkar made his Test debut, India have played 143 Tests, won 30, lost 55 and drew 58. The overseas record is better in ODIS: played 271, won 116, lost 136, tied 2 and no result in 17.
With almost all batting records under his belt, Tendulkar could read a bowler’s mind when he smashed the ball to all parts of the park. He revealed how Kumble, after nine years into his international career, did not know how to use the white Kookaburra ball.
“(In domestic cricket) we should play with two balls. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, they play with the Kookaburra ball which seams and moves more than the Indian-make SG balls. Abroad, Indian spinners also struggle to come to grips with the Kokkaburra. It is thus important to get used to the Kokkaburra ball before an Indian cricketer goes abroad,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar’s suggestions will be food for thought for BCCI bosses, currently busy negotiating a Supreme Court bouncer to make radical changes in the way they functioned. Tendulkar steered clear of any comment on BCCI’s legal worries restricting to how India could get better as a sporting nation.
Saying “parantha-loving” India needed to get physically and mentally fitter and refrain from arm-chair criticism, Tendulkar urged cricket fans to acknowledge the effort put in by sportspersons, who largely remain in the shadow of cricket’s superstars.
“Let’s have the national 100m final during a break in an IPL or ODI match. Let our athletes get a feel of what it is to perform in front of a full house,” said Tendulkar.
The ‘God’ of cricket has spoken. Is anybody listening?